2007-06-09

Book: The Crack in Space

I like Philip K Dick, I always have. I've been spending a bit of the past few years reading through most of his collection and I finally got to "The Crack in Space" (aka Cantanta 140 in the UK), which I had always heard good things about. The plot summary is as follows:
In The Crack in Space, a repairman discovers that a hole in a faulty Jifi-scuttler leads to a parallel world. Jim Briskin, campaigning to be the first black president of the United States, thinks alter-Earth is the solution to the chronic overpopulation that has seventy million people cryogenically frozen; Tito Cravelli, a shadowy private detective, wants to know why Dr Lurton Sands is hiding his mistress on the planet; billionaire mutant George Walt wants to make the empty world all his own. But when the other earth turns out to be inhabited, everything changes.
One thing that really struck me about this work is Dick's projection of American culture onto the future. Not only culture such as politics and religion, but subculture as well such as racism and sexuality. His idea that such a substantial discovery as life on another world would be primarily of financial and political interest and not scientific or historic is an idea that holds more true today than ever. The thought that given the chance, instead of learning from another species we would attempt to proselytize them again seems more pertinent than ever with our current trends towards gentrification and globalization. This work reminded me more of "The Man in the High Tower" then works like "A Scanner Darkly" due to the fact that you become engaged in the story as opposed to the characters. It's a short read at under 200 pages, I'd recommend it to anyone into PKD or sci-fi.